Furnishly Co-Founder Bryon Finke on Startup Life – And Why It’s Better Than Corporate Life

June 28, 2012

4:00 pm

It seems like a lot of startups are popping up to address the numerous shortcomings of Craigslist.  We’ve covered Purge, Rumgr, and Jobaline just in the past month. Another such startup is Furnishly, a local furnisher exchange based in Chicago that we covered this spring.

Co-Founder Bryon Finke originally began pursuing the idea for Furnishly because he saw an incredible amount of economic opportunity in the space.  “Residential furniture is a significant industry, and the local, vintage and second-hand space was incredibly fragmented from a retail and resale perspective,” he said.  “I realized that the targeted consumer marketplace trend could easily be applied to create significant value in this space.”

Though he has an engineering degree and management consulting background – and no startup experience – that didn’t stop him from pursuing this idea.  And so far, it’s been a lot of fun, especially with crazy situations that he would never have experienced in the corporate life.

“When you are in the business of gathering people’s random, unwanted home furnishings and finding an new owner, crazy situations are bound to arise.  One customer in the northern suburbs of Chicago had an entire living room set he no longer needed.  Most pieces were very stylish and in great condition.  The one issue was the massive entertainment center piece that was built to fit a large-screen TV from the early 90’s.  He wanted to get rid of everything and wouldn’t release the rest of the stuff unless the entertainment piece left with it.  After several attempt to move the monstrosity, our delivery crew was forced to permanently disassemble the piece.  An iconic fixture died that day, but the new owners of the rest of the set were much appreciative.”

Crazy situations aside, Finke is rapidly adjusting to the startup life. “If there is one take-away, it’s that you must be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  Everyday brings new challenges and surprises.  The main reason I pursued startup life was for the constant challenge and excitement….  I would say the one thing I do miss from the corporate world is the seemingly limitless budgets….  Being resource constrained is very healthy, though, and is keeping us executing effectively.”

As Furnishly reaches critical mass in various cities, Finke and his team are looking forward to taking the consumer experience to the next level: “Always have to start small, but exciting developments await us in the months ahead!”

Furnishly was a showcased startup at our Tech Week Chicago mixer.


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Monika Jansen is a writer and editor who is happiest pounding out blog posts, newsletters, website content, and other materials. Follow her at: @monikacjansen

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